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Follow-on Bread Class Scheduled!

If you have already attended my beginner’s bread class or have some experience of baking bread but want to extend your skills, then I have scheduled a follow-on bread class.

We will cover items such as Pecan & Cinnamon Brunch Wreath, Focaccia, Fougasse, Walnut & Swirl Loaf.

Thursday 30th October

Coleg Y Cymoedd, Nantgarw

5.30pm to 9pm

£50 per person – discount available for multiple bookings

Please contact me to book a place.

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Another happy customer….

It looks like the 60th birthday party I catered for last week was a success on the food front.  A great recommendation from the customer:

Claire @ Cooked from Scratch was recommended to me by a friend in’ Linked In’
I  asked Claire to cater for  50 people  for my 60th Birthday party that I was throwing at home ,mainly in Marquees in the courtyard.
We contacted each other by email ,then had a preliminary meeting to discuss my requirements ..Most of the food being vegetarian with a couple of fish dishes.
Claire arrived a couple  of hours before the party and as I had so much to do, I let her get on with putting the food out on the prepared tables.The prepared canapés  were handed around early , they were delicious and soon disappeared.
The main buffet was also delicious including a variety of salads + many different tarts …plenty left over for a few days after
The desserts were very rich + creamy…I highly recommend  the cheesecake with fruit compote and one guest was addicted to the mini welsh cakes.
I highly recommend Claire for her  home cooking  and her professional presentation
Thank you
Janet Davies

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Home Delivery Service Now Live….

I am pleased to announce that the long awaited home delivery service for freshly prepared meals is now availabe.

At the moment, there are limited meals available, but this will be added to over the coming days.

Currently, you will need to contact me to order, but we hope to offer an online ordering service in the near future.

There will also be changes made to the website layout over the coming weeks.

If there is anything you would like to order, but can’t see at the moment, please just contact me.

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New Home Delivery Service Launching Soon!

I am pleased to announce that the home delivery/fill your freezer service will be launched towards the end of this week.  I know a lot of people have been waiting for it.

I will slowly be adding some of the dishes on offer to the website and will let you know when they are available to order.

So keep a look out for dishes you like the look of.

If you have any suggestions for dishes you would like to see, then please let me know.

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Foodie Adventures in Stratford-Upon-Avon…..

I recently had a long weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon with my partner so thought I would document my adventures – primarily because I’m a nightmare foodie.  I will only eat where I know the food is homemade, cooked from scratch, free range eggs, high-welfare meat etc.  Chains don’t come into the equation & sometimes even when somewhere says the food is homemade it doesn’t always live up to expectations & questions aren’t answered by looking at the menu.

All in all, Stratford is fairly good for foodies.  There is no shortage of independent coffee shops boasting homemade cakes & scones & if you want to go down the chef chain route they have a Carluccios & a restaurant owned by Marco Pierre White.

We were only there for 2 nights with dinner being inclueded at the hotel on the first night, so we only had to seek out a few meals & snacks along the way.

Lunch Day 1 – late lunch required & had been advised that Sheep Street had the best restaurants for dinner, so seemed a good place to look for somewhere for lunch.  There are quite a number of tea & coffee shops on Sheep Street including a forties themed tea shop, but there were queues out of the door for that one, so we chose one across the road who were advertising homemade quiches, cheesecakes, scones etc., called No 37 (  The chalkboard menus also mentioned things like free range eggs, which looked very encouraging.

We sat in the lovely, sunny courtyard out the back & there were lots of lovely cheeses, salamis etc., on the menu.  Karl, being very predictable, chose the 1/2 sandwich with cream tea option.  I chose the chicken & chorizo quiche, which came with salad & homemade coleslaw.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t eat the coleslaw – even though it was homemade, I have an intolerance to shop-bought mayo, which it was made with.  Just goes to show homemade doesn’t necessarily mean cooked from scratch – there can still be shop-bought products used to make the dish.  The pastry on the quiche was nice & crispy (but had no way of knowing if the pastry was homemade or shop-bought) and the quiche itself was tasty – but it would be difficult for it not to be as it contained the very flavoursome chorizo.  All in all, it had a thumbs up & the coffee shop itself was very pleasant with friendly staff – they obviously took pride in the food they produced.  Having said that, one thing I did note was how they made the quiches to make it quick & easy for a catering environment.  It looked to me like they make the milk, eggs, cheese filling for each quiche, fill them & then place small bits of the required toppings on each of them as opposed to within the quiche itself.  I suppose it makes sense when you’re doing a number every day.

So, choice number 1 was pretty successful – big sigh of relief from Karl.

It was probably around mid afternoon when we had lunch & checked into the hotel afterwards, The Stratford Manor, ( – by this time we could only get the 8.30pm slot for dinner.  I did feel sorry for Karl at this point as we’ve been eating very late at home recently due to me cooking for the business in the evenings, so his hopes of an early dinner were very quickly dashed.

Dinner Day 1 – By the time 8.30pm arrived we were both aboslutely starving & could have eaten a chair leg.  I’d gathered from the menu & website that the food was cooked mostly from scatch by the numerous chefs in the kitchen, but there was no real indication on the menu with regard provenance, welfare etc., so I was going to have to choose quite carefully.

As luck would have it, they appeared to be having a bit of a nightmare in the kitchen – the serving staff were floating about being mega efficient & courteous to customers, but looking around there seemed to be quite a lot of unrest with regards the food.  Oh dear!  As luck would have it & as hungry as we were, we didn’t get our starter until 9.20pm – there had been a mix up in the kitchen with the order of the orders (it’s always us).  Karl had the ham terrine, which he thoroughly enjoyed (but by then I think anything would have tasted good) & I had the soup as it was homemade, which was good – not great, but good – it lacked some flavour.

We then had quite a long wait for the main course – Karl had chosen the half Piri Piri chicken & I chose the braised duck legs.  Karl tucked into his chicken, quickly devouring the parts he likes the least first – the legs & wings.  I started on my  veggies & then moved onto the duck – which was just warm – nowhere near hot enough, which can be dangerous with poultry.  So, I had to let them know & it was taken back with the promise of a new one to come out – the waitress then came back & asked Karl if they wanted his to go back in too, so that we could both eat together. He agreed but said ‘don’t put anymore food on the plate though’.  They eventually arrived back – Karl’s complete with a full serving even though he’d eaten his least favourite bits already & mine now piping hot, but missing the courgettes & french beans that had been present on the original – but I wasn’t going to complain again.  Similar to the starter it was ok – again lacked some flavour but was ok.

Dessert though was a success – I had homemade cheesecake (can’t really go wrong with that) & Karl had 4 different scoops of ice cream (that always keeps him happy).

So, meal number 2 was certainly eventful.  What I will say, was despite whatever was happening in the kitchen (there were lots of people complaining) the staff were fantastic – very professional, very efficient.

Breakfast Day 2 – The usual buffet style offered by chain hotels, trying to cater for as many tastes as possible but not really doing anything very well.  One of my bug bears is the fruit offered by nearly all the hotels at breakfast – it’s very rarely seasonal or even British – and here was no exception.  The menu actually said ‘seasonal fruit’ – melon, pineapple, orange, pink grapefruit – August in the UK – really?!!!  So that wasn’t a good start.  But, if I could have some fruit juice, fruit & natural yoghurt that would be ok.  The bacon, sausages etc., certainly didn’t look very appetising.

I asked one of the staff if the fruit juice was pure fruit juice or fruit juice drink (which is full of sugar & other stuff) – it was fruit juice drink, so that was out.  I asked if the eggs were free range – she went off to the kitchen & came back with the classic reply ‘chef informs me that we’ve recently changed our supplier & at the moment they are caged’.  This I find irritating to say the least – big chain hotels can’t afford free range eggs?  Especially when they’re not even as prominent in the supermarkets now?

So, breakfast was what was left of the fruit, natural yoghurt & honey (which was local – yah!).

Elevenses Day 2 – when at home, my morning coffee is always a very strong latte, made a specific way to kickstart me into the day.  In the hotel it was just the pot of coffee with a small jug of milk, so I would need my real coffee sustenance at some point that morning.  After a couple of hours walking, I was also rather hungry after such a small breakfast.

Walking along the river we came across the Riverside Tea Garden ( with blackboards boasting homemade scones coming out of the oven at 10.30am.  Mmmm, I thought – that sounds nice – a homemade scone with a good cup of coffee.  So, I ordered a scone with butter (that’s what it said on the menu) & a latte.  Out it came with the obligatory catering carton of cheap jam & lo and behold, a little carton of the spreadable muck that pretends to be butter.  Took a sip of the coffee & it wasn’t real coffee – it had that sweetness that only comes from the yucky sachet stuff.  So, I wasn’t happy – decided to ask for some real butter & was told that was all they had.  Now, if the owner had made some attempt at trying to find me some butter (perhaps what she used for baking) or looked surprised when I said that what she’d given me wasn’t butter, perhaps I wouldn’t have then suggested she amend her menu as she was misleading customers.  She very sarkily said ‘I’ll bear that in mind” – obviously didn’t give a s*** what her customers thought.  She had a prime spot by the river & could rip people off right, left & centre.

Why do people who don’t care about food go into the food business?  One of life’s mysteries.  So, I wasn’t a happy bunny – all I wanted was a decent cup of coffee.  Even Karl left the coffee so it must have been bad.

Lunch Day 2 – we walked some more & amongst the many, many coffee shops we came across a blackboard advertising a 70’s themed coffee shop with homemade dishes prepared by Claire – The Courtyard Cafe.  Same name as me, homemade fayre & a 70’s theme, so we decided to give it a go (

It was a bit of fun as the menu headings were themed around 70’s hits & there were cuttings of old magazines etc., on the table tops, memorabilia etc.  The dishes were very 70’s too.  I’m afraid I can’t remember what Karl had, but I opted for quiche again – this time stilton.  Again, I couldn’t eat the homemade coleslaw as it had been bound together with shop-bought mayo.  The quiche was probably very nice, but unfortunately, it had been reheatedi in the microwave, which is the kiss of death for a quiche.  The pastry goes soft & somehow or another it impairs the flavour.  Now, I’m all for using microwaves for certain things, but reheating quiche certainly isn’t one of them.  The food would have been fine but for that.

Dinner Day 2 – when we’d first arrived in Stratford, we parked on the outskirts & walked in along the river.  We got chatting to a local in the car park who had advised that the best restaurants were in Sheep Street, particularly ‘Lamb’s of Sheep Street’ (  So, we’d checked the menu & the opening times earlier & got ourselves along there fairly early on the Sunday night.  At last – this looked like the type of food I want to eat in lovely surroundings & I was right.  We had a fabulous meal & chose from the set price menu as it was fairly early on the Sunday evening – so not only was the food great it was good value too.

Karl had Roasted Yellow Pepper soup, Swordfish & Hazelnut Parfait.

I had Chicken Liver Pate, Swordfish & Summer Fruits Jelly with Elderflower Ice Cream.

All homemade, cooked from scratch, using high quality ingredients.

At last, a perfect meal in Stratford :).  Lamb’s of Sheep Street comes highly recommended.

So, a mixed bag, but Stratford is certainly somewhere I would recommend for foodies to pay a visit – just be careful where you go.

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Now Working with Fresh & Fruity, Gilfach Goch

I am pleased to announce that I am now working with a new local, fruit & veg supplier in Gilfach Goch, called Fresh & Fruity.

I am buying my own fruit & vegetables from Joanna & also using her for any business requirements.

In addition to this, I am now supplying Jo’s shop with home baked bread, welsh cakes etc. & hope to be supplying jams etc., in the future.

Check out Joanna’s page on Facebook for more details

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Fantastic Customer Recommendation

I was asked by Julie Kelly (Julie Kelly HR), at quite short notice, for a lunch buffet for some important clients of hers last Thursday.  I’m pleased to say it was a big success for both Julie & myself, so she has very kindly written me a lovely recommendation.

Here’s to working together again in the future….BaconSundriedTomatoCheeseQ11








12th July 2014


Claire Davies

Cooked from Scratch

Dear Claire

Re: Buffet lunch 10th July 2012

Thank you very much for the fabulous buffet lunch you provided on Thursday. My Client was very happy and the afternoon was a complete success. The Client he brought with him was so impressed he commented on the professionalism and quality of the afternoon and took away both our business cards.

Furthermore my Client appreciated the fact you had very little notice and was already very busy, and he was very grateful that you were prepared to meet me before 7:00am, as this was the only way we could fit the order in.

The food was delicious and was quickly devoured by 10 hungry men. When I met with them all individually each one of them made a comment on how lovely the food was. I received comments such as ‘they were the tastiest sausage rolls I have ever tasted’ and ‘those muffins were gorgeous’. Quite typically the only thing left at the end of the afternoon was the salad. Personally the only item I got to sample was the cornbeef pie and it was one of the nicest I have ever tasted. I felt very disappointed that I didn’t get to try the jam Swiss roll.

Yet again you delivered food of a high quality, which was suitable for the occasion. I will certainly continue to use your services and recommend you at every opportunity

Many thanks again Claire, you did me proud.

Yours sincerely


Julie Kelly FCIPD

Julie Kelly HR Business Services

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I Helped Make A Dream Come True….

I was recently asked, by a very lovely lady called Vicky George, if I could help out with the charity she works for – Follow Your Dreams.  They work with children with learning difficulties & disabilities to grant the childrens’ dreams.

She had recently been working with a boy called Mo, whose dream was simply to be a chef & have a cookery lesson, specifically to make a curry.  How could I say no?  Such a small dream in comparison to many others.

So, today, Vicky and I went along to Mo’s school and spent the morning making curry with him.  Vicky had bought him a chef’s apron, hat, cookery book, cooking utensils, wok etc., so he would have everything he needed.  The Spice Company had kindly provided a huge array of spices. I’d typed up the recipe for Mo to keep (which Vicky laminated) & shopped for the rest of the ingredients, so we were all set.

We had a fantastic morning with Mo & he loved his experience – it was very humbling to spend time with him.  A very simple dream, simply granted.

If anyone is in a position to help out with one of the dreams I would highly recommend it.

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Additional Bread Class Booked for September!

The 17th September course booked up really quickly, so have booked another for Thursday 25th September.

Coleg-y-Cymoedd Nantgarw, 5.30pm to 9pm, £50 per person.

The course aims to give you the skills & confidence to have a go at bread making in your own home, with lots of fun along the way.

Please email me – to book your place.

Feedback from bread class June 2014 –

Jon Ashcroft

Cardiff – attended bread making class June 2014

Everybody seemed to have a fantastic time on the beginners bread making course.  I came home with new skills and more importantly the confidence to try it at home as Claire made the whole process as relaxing and fun as possible.  We made a variety of different breads from baguettes to multi-seed rolls and by the end of it we all had a lovely array of bread to take home.  The course was fantastic value, the amount of bread I made in a 4 hour period will be enough to last us several weeks.  Most importantly the tuition was given at a relaxed pace in easy to understand terms and no one was afraid to ask questions or raise a hand for some help when the dough disobeyed.

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Follow-on Bread Class Booked!

Those who attended my first bread class are keen to increase their skills & take their bread making a little further, so I am pleased to announce a date in October for a follow-on course.

We will cover breads such as a cinnamon & pecan breakfast wreath, focaccia, pizza etc.

Date – Thursday 9th October

Venue – Coleg-y-Cymoedd, Nantgarw

Time – 5.30pm to 9pm

Cost – £50 per person

Email to book a place.

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New Bread Class September! [FULL]

After the success of the first class, I am pleased to have booked another bread class for Wednesday September 17th.

Coleg-y-Cymoedd Nantgarw, 5.30pm to 9pm, £50 per person.

The course aims to give you the skills & confidence to have a go at bread making in your own home, with lots of fun along the way.

Please email me – to book your place.

Feedback from bread class June 2014 –

Jon Ashcroft

Cardiff – attended bread making class June 2014

Everybody seemed to have a fantastic time on the beginners bread making course.  I came home with new skills and more importantly the confidence to try it at home as Claire made the whole process as relaxing and fun as possible.  We made a variety of different breads from baguettes to multi-seed rolls and by the end of it we all had a lovely array of bread to take home.  The course was fantastic value, the amount of bread I made in a 4 hour period will be enough to last us several weeks.  Most importantly the tuition was given at a relaxed pace in easy to understand terms and no one was afraid to ask questions or raise a hand for some help when the dough disobeyed.


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Bread Workshop

When – Thursday 19th June, 5.30pm to 9pm
Where – Coleg Y Cymoedd, Nantgarw Campus, Heol y Coleg, Parc Nantgarw, Cardiff CF15 7QY
Cost – £45 per person (discounts for multiple bookings), includes ingredients, equipment use & refreshments

WholemealLoaf1Baking my own bread is very important to me – I have been baking my own for around 6 years now.  During that time I’ve not purchased any bread products from the supermarket.  Unfortunately, even bread purchased from the in-store bakeries contains additives and preservatives you simply don’t find in home baked bread.  As I don’t have a local bakery, baking my own bread was the only way I could ensure the quality of the bread products we eat.

As you would expect, I learnt from books and it didn’t go right first time.  But, I persevered until I produced a loaf I could be proud of.  Over the years, my skills have increased and I’ve baked lots of different types of bread.  Now, if I whip up a curry I’ll also make flatbreads or naan breads to mop up the lovely juices.  If I have a dinner party, I always make the bread to go with the meal whether that is a French Stick or Italian Focaccia.  I also bake our everyday bread as a matter of course – if it’s something you want to do you simply build it into your routine.

Focaccia2Over recent months, I’ve carried out short presentations within my business network community on bread making, with the aim of dispelling the belief that making bread is a long drawn out process & requires lots of mystery, ‘hard to get hold of’ ingredients.  The presentations also include lots of samples for people to try so they can taste the difference between homemade and shop bought bread.  I’ve succeeded in persuading some people to give it a go themselves and lots of people now purchase my bread on a regular basis – although, at the time, that wasn’t the aim.  I’m really passionate about food that’s cooked from scratch and how that is so much better for us than processed foods, which was the main motivation.

As I’m a teacher/trainer by trade, the next logical step is to pass on the skills and knowledge to others so they can experience the pleasure the freshly baked bread smell filling the house and proudly present their bread to others to enjoy.  It will be combining the 2 things I love most in the world – cooking & teaching others.

The workshop will look at the following:

  1. The ingredients used & the different types of yeast available.
  2. The equipment needed & the equipment that’s ‘nice to have’.
  3. Hands-on teaching & baking of:
    • Basic white loaf,
    • Seeded loaf,
    • Soda bread &
    • French stick.

Everyone will be able to take the loaves they’ve baked home with them.

The objectives of the bread workshop will be to give those attending a sound understanding of the bread making process & the confidence to go home, give it a go themselves and experiment with different types of bread.

If this workshop is successful, I will look at a follow-on session focussing on taking the skills further e.g. Focaccia, Ciabatta, enriched dough etc.